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Original Issue

Tour Tracks Toughened

The West Coast swing will play a little harder next year, as two
of its courses are about to be tweaked. Sources at the TPC of
Scottsdale tell SI that the host course of the Phoenix Open will
be beefed up from its current yardage of 7,089 to more than
7,300. Tom Weiskopf, who codesigned the course along with Jay
Morrish, is overseeing changes to six holes. Meanwhile, rumors
are flying at Riviera Country Club that its famous par-4 18th
hole is about to be supersized. Attracting most of the attention
is a recently cleared parcel of land 40 to 50 yards behind the
present championship tee and 15 yards to its left. Were that to
become a new tee box, it would extend the hole well beyond its
current 451 yards while also reducing its dogleg right. Riviera
chief corporate officer Mike Yamaki says the change may be more
subtle for next year's Nissan Open. "Right now we're looking at
lowering the present tee, so it's more of an uphill tee shot, and
moving it back 15 yards," he says.

The agent for Kenny Perry, Dave Parker, tells SI that on Saturday
evening at the Colonial his man turned down $25,000 to use a
TaylorMade putter during the final round, during which he was
sure to get plenty of face time on CBS. (Perry is a TaylorMade
endorser but has no putter deal.) Perry, who was leading by eight
shots, stuck with his Odyssey for the final round. "You don't
switch putters right after shooting 61," says Parker.
"Twenty-five thousand dollars is not a whole lot when you're
playing for a $900,000 winner's check."

Having finished better than 50th only twice in 16 starts heading
into the Memorial, Chris Smith last week used a Ping Anser putter
he discovered among his 1,800 clubs and hadn't touched since high
school. Smith took only 54 putts over the first two rounds but
still finished 68th.


THIS WEEK: Of the following four players, who is your pick to win
the U.S. Open: Kenny Perry, Vijay Singh, Mike Weir or Tiger Woods?

LAST POLL: Should Annika Sorenstam play in more PGA Tour events?


--Based on 6,084 responses to our informal survey